Letters for March 1, 2018

Gun violence reaction

Re “Stand united with students” (Editorial, Feb. 22):

Let’s maximize our schools’ potential firepower and really go full-on Rambo.

Let’s arm the janitors, bus drivers, crossing guards, groundskeepers and, while we’re at it, the lunch ladies. The cafeteria is a great defensible fallback position. All of that tile and metal trays could really slow down and deflect rounds from a bad guy with a gun.

What about arming the school nurse? She could lay down fire and be our field medic. Oh. Yeah. How about those kids who monitor the hallways? The little buggers see everyone coming and going. I’m sure a little .380 will fit their hands nicely.

I think we have it covered, but we probably should have an established perimeter with some claymores, concertina wire and gun towers. Can’t leave anything to chance.

Finally, let’s rename the school to make it clear that we aren’t to be messed with. Instead of Millard Fillmore Elementary School, we’ll call it Fort Millard Fillmore Secured Elementary Educational Facility.

Yep. Gawd help the bad guy with a gun who opens on all of us good guys with guns.

Jack Jernigan


The mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida highlights once again that, in America, we value assault rifles more than human life. We hang our heads and we hang our flags at half-staff, and then choose assault rifles over the next set of victims.

Most recently, 58 people at a Las Vegas concert were killed by a person with legally obtained assault rifles. Afterward, we hung our heads in sadness and chose the assault rifle over 26 church-goers in Texas. We were shocked by such a brutal massacre in a place of worship, but afterward, we hung our heads and chose the assault rifle over 17 high school students in Florida. And if all we do is hang our heads again, we are already condemning the next victims.

I applaud the students around the country who are taking a stand and speaking out against assault rifles. Our children have been the main targets of mass shootings over the past 20 years, and because they can’t run for office or vote, they have had no power to stop them.

Banning assault rifles is essential to our survival as a civilized nation, and for the safety of our citizens. We have to stand beside our children and show them that we care to protect them. We must no longer hang our heads as if there is nothing we can do, and tell our kids how sorry we are that assault rifles are more important than they are.

Betsy Clemente


As a hunter, farmer and son of a hunter and cattle and sheep rancher, I have been around firearms all my life and use them frequently. I own numerous guns, most of which are inherited and fairly old technology.

It is my strong personal opinion that assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are not necessary and are in fact contrary to the concept of hunting for sport. As for self and home defense, I don’t see the need either. A shotgun or pistol with a reasonable number of rounds should work just fine.

Any benefits conferred by a military-style assault weapon (they are fun to shoot at least a few times) are far outweighed by the dangers they pose in the wrong hands. The Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to bear arms free of reasonable regulation. I do not buy the fear tactics employed by those who may be more interested in profit than public safety that the right to bear arms will be taken. Ban assault weapons and consider a program such as Australia’s to buy them back. It wouldn’t be a panacea, but it’s a step that could save lives. Strengthening background checks is a “no-brainer.”

Ernie Washington


For some educators, “packing heat” to class seems tantamount to a heart-wrenching and forced early retirement.

Kenneth B. Keith

Los Molinos

Where in the United States are the factories where guns are manufactured? Where in the States are NRA offices located? Would those persons interested in gun controls be more effective protesting at those locations? Talking with members of Congress doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere.

Do laborers at gun factories have children in schools? Do NRA members have children in schools? Are they interested in protecting their children?

The Second Amendment was written at a time when a well-regulated militia was necessary for the security of a free state. We now have a strong well-regulated militia. Perhaps it is time for the Second Amendment to be brought up to date.

Barbara Ortiz


“Someday” a new and all too long narrative will begin in our society necessary for the passage of a constitutional amendment to the effect that there is no right to manufacture, distribute, sell, own or possess any weaponry.

Until such an amendment is passed, the victims of violence will just flail in vain against the might of the NRA and its politicians. Victims kowtow and seek only the smallest and most piecemeal of legislative measures, like increased age limits, better background checks, elimination of bumper stocks. Nothing very meaningful is possible without amending our Constitution. And that requires a new narrative to bubble up from the blood of innocents.

Ralph Slater


‘Slush-fund money’

Re “‘An attack on all workers’” (Guest comment, by Marshall Elliott, Feb. 22):

Last week’s 400-word rendition of the oldy-moldy, “Look for the Union Label,” held little truth about Janus v. AFSCME. Let’s shed some light in 200.

Janus: AFSCME, a public employee union, forces Janus into association with the union via agency fees. Public employee unions and contracts are political. Money in politics is free speech. By taking his money against his will, AFSCME is forcing Janus into association and political speech he disagrees with, violating his First Amendment rights.

AFSCME: Janis is not a member of the union, but he is a public employee. He benefits from union-negotiated public employee contracts, therefore he pays an agency fee, or he is a free-rider. Janus only pays agency fees, not total union dues, which are not part of any political machinations.

Janus is getting outside support because public employee unions take money from members and non-members alike to grease the political careers of the very politicians that determine public employee contracts. It’s incestuous at taxpayer expense.

If Janus prevails, it won’t hinder a single legitimate activity of any public employee union. They can organize, add members, collect union dues, and negotiate contracts. However, they will lose their slush-fund money for greasy politics. Yikes!

Peter Bridge

Ord Bend

‘Profound differences’

Re “Commentary comeback” (Letters, by Lucy Cooke, Feb. 22):

Letter writer Lucy Cooke states that a major obstacle to national unity is that Democrats are “emphasizing and dividing people by their specialness—be it sexual, racial or religious.” This charge—that Democrats or liberals are somehow “dividing people” by acknowledging the fact that we’re not all the same—is totally ridiculous.

What today we call “identity politics” is as old as, well, politics. A hundred years ago folks were complaining about how Irish-, German- or Italian-Americans insisted on maintaining a group identity as “hyphenated Americans,” as if we could simply ignore our differing cultural references.

What makes Cooke’s statement so absurd is that a principal feature of the modern Republican Party’s electoral strategy is to do exactly what she wrongly charges the Democrats with: inciting division and disunity. One example among thousands: Trump suggesting President Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.

I’m not suggesting the Democratic Party’s elected officials are beyond reproach, but they are, by and large, trying to preserve civic unity and discourse, while most Republican leaders are exploiting our divisions for political gain. And if we are unable or unwilling to discern the profound differences between the two parties, things will only get worse.

Corey Finnegan


Pants on fire

Houston, we have a problem. We have a president who continuously lies, and a press secretary who promulgates these lies during press conferences.

We heard the other day that President Trump has always said that Russia meddled in our 2016 election. Perhaps this administration has not heard about video tapes, on which we can hear Trump broadcast that Russian election interference “is a made-up story” and “an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

America needs a president who will lead our nation in defense of the attacks on the integrity of our electoral democracy. Instead, we have President Trump, who is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a gigantic fool, or both.

Trump’s conduct amounts to a blatant refusal to carry out his sworn oath of office—to protect and defend the Constitution. To do so would require focused energy, something he noticeably lacks.

Trump is demonstrating an unwillingness or inability to defend America against a Russian campaign seeking to divide and undermine our democracy.

This is unpresidential behavior and must no longer be tolerated. The biggest threat to our democracy resides in the Oval Office.

Roger S. Beadle


Real estate talk

Re “Project rescripted” and “Intentional living” (CN&R Business Issue, Feb. 15):

Kudos to the Kramer family for being home builders for whom “sustainability matters” and to Lauren Kennedy for her efforts to create affordable community properties. For 22 years I have been a renter at a Chico intentional community where sustainability also matters—a co-housing development called Valley Oaks Village.

As neighbors often did when I was a child in the 1940s, we help each other in countless ways such as child and elder care, cooperative buying in bulk, shared meals and emotional support during difficult times. We work together to maintain our buildings and landscape, and we play together at holiday celebrations, parties and an annual variety show.

The layout of our homes around one large green “yard” with play equipment saves space and requires only one lawnmower. We share other tools and equipment as well. We recycle, compost, have an organic garden and solar panels on our carports.

I chose Valley Oaks Village because as a former therapist and environmental and neighborhood organizer, I knew the psychological, social, economic and sustainability value of living cooperatively as neighbors.

Renee Renaud


More on the market

Re “Market madness” and “Flipping onto the screen” (CN&R Business Issue, Feb. 15):

While the stories about the local real estate market were informative, does anyone else see the terrible irony contained therein? While the Higginbothams have lost out on every home they have tried to purchase, the Riveras purchased 20 homes last year and plan to purchase 25 this year. That’s 45(!) homes that couples like the Higginbothams won’t have a chance at purchasing because they’ve been snapped up, remodeled and priced out of their budget. Yes, less inventory results in higher prices—and excess gets rewarded with a TV show.

Susy Meyer


Prioritize gardening

Re “Praiseworthy progress” and “Hitting streets, building roofs” (CN&R, Feb. 8):

[The editorial and City Council coverage] report positive actions to address issues of those living without housing in Chico that were taken at Chico City Council’s Feb. 6 meeting. The reported public and private agency collaborations to expand services at the Jesus Center and to construct 80 affordable housing units are to be commended.

Six years ago, when the city and BEC collaborated to establish the Humboldt Community Garden, there was equally congratulatory news coverage. A grave concern arises that the proposed housing project will lead to the displacement of the 40-plus garden plots there with only a mention from Councilwoman Ann Schwab that “helping to move the garden” be considered.

How do you “move a garden”? There is much more to a garden than its address. The Humboldt Gardeners, who ought to be considered “stakeholders” and have not yet been invited into the planning, collectively call upon the council, CHIP, the Housing Authority, BEC, et al, to support incorporation of community gardening—open space shared in common, low-cost, accessible recreation, the food security of home-grown produce—into the design of the project, thereby building community as well as homes.

Malama MacNeil


A grassroots solution

Re “Congressman’s pledge” (Letters, by Ralph Slater, Feb. 15):

I was at first dismayed to read in last week’s CN&R that our representative, Doug LaMalfa, was one of about 400 lawmakers to sign the “Koch Brothers’ Pledge” promising to oppose any climate change legislation that would boost government revenue.

But then I realized that doesn’t prevent our congressman from supporting effective action, for there is a potent tax-free climate change strategy. It’s the revenue-neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend plan that puts a modest but predictably escalating price on the carbon content of fossil fuels and returns all net proceeds to citizens.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby is the grassroots organization behind the plan, designed to appeal to conservatives and progressives. While the price of fossil fuels and products with a carbon footprint will rise, returning the money to citizens ensures that most Americans won’t be economically harmed.

The free market will reduce consumption of dirty fuels and make clean energy more competitive. British Columbia, which enacted a carbon fee in 2008 and used the revenues to cut personal and corporate taxes, has seen significant reductions in its greenhouse gas emissions.

So, Rep. LaMalfa can honor his pledge to the Koch brothers and protect his constituents from the effects of climate change.

Julie Heath


‘More thoughts’

Following the guest comment Feb. 15 and my letter Feb. 22, I have a few more thoughts on Chelsea Manning’s decision to run against Sen. Ben Cardin.

Manning’s courage to leak thousands of diplomatic cables enabled those who care to know much about U.S. military and diplomatic duplicity and manipulation of other countries. Her run for the Senate could spark a needed discussion with Sen. Cardin, who always supports regime change and military intervention.

Soon after Manning announced her candidacy, an important establishment Democrat and close associate of Hillary Clinton, Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, spread a viral tweet that strongly implied—without a shred of evidence—that the Kremlin had engineered Manning’s candidacy.

This is how the hysterical, Joe McCarthy-like Russian meddling obsession will be a tool for the establishment to use to discredit insurgent candidates—be they Manning, Trump or Bernie Sanders.

While Russian bots are fiddling around on social media, I wonder about anti-Russian hysteria, but now I see its purpose as a tool to discredit candidates who do not support the establishment. In varied mainstream media, I see populist candidates in many countries, to the right and left, denigrated as Russian creations.

Real progressives, beware and stand strong.

Lucy Cooke

Butte Valley

More on Russian meddling

Even comrade Trump’s national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, called Russian meddling “incontrovertible,” or not open to question, to help his “poorly educated” weekly letter writers. The president of the “poorly educated” insists that Russian meddling “had no effect on the 2016 election.”

Trump also believes his darling comrade Putin when the Russian president said he “had nothing to do with interfering in the election.” Then why did Putin spend millions to pay 13 of his indicted comrades (including his personal chef) to invade America and systematically attack our political system?

If perception management has “no effect,” then why do local business owners waste money advertising in the CN&R? Why do major corporations spend millions for a 30-second Super Bowl ad? Why did the NRA contribute $21 million to the Trump campaign?

The father of our country, George Washington, was clairvoyant when he said “a day will come when America selects a president whose “ego would transcend national interests.” Truer words were never spoken, not even when he admitted to chopping down the cherry tree. I don’t care if you have a master’s degree, if you voted for Trump, you’re one of his “poorly educated supporters.”

Ray Estes